The Electoral Petition Tribunal, sitting in Abeokuta, has affirmed the election of Hon. Afolabi Moruf Afuape, member, representing Abeokuta South Federal in the House of Representatives, Abuja.
In its ruling, delivered by Hon. Justice K. dabo, the chairman of the tribunal, and adopted by Hon. Justice C. K. Okereke and Hon. Justice Dr. O. David, both members, on Thursday, 7th September 2023, in Abeokuta, the tribunal described the petition filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Toyin Amuzu, as frivolous, unmeritorious, and devoid of substance.
The PDP and its candidate had approached the Tribunal, seeking the cancellation of the 25th February 2023 election that returned Hon. Afuape elected for a seat to represent Abeokuta South Federal Constituency in Abuja and an order a rerun election.
The petitioners had adduced none qualification of Afuape, irregularities in the election, and none compliance with the 2022 Electoral Act as grounds for his prayers. The Independent National Electoral Commission and All Progressives Congress were joined as respondents to the petition.
The Tribunal, in its wisdom, having considered the arguments of all parties to the petition, found the evidence given by the petitioner’s witnesses as unfounded and constituting mere hearsay. The Petitioner’s witnesses were discovered under cross examinations to have acted as agents at particular polling units and had to rely on reports of other people as evidence. “This is alien to any applicable law of evidence, and therefore unreliable.” The tribunal declared.
Further in its ruling, the tribunal described the evidence in support of the petition as unsatisfactory, non-credible, and not cogent. Stressing that the burden of proof in an electoral matter rests solely on the petitioner.
“The inability of the petitioner to tender BVAS reports, and the voters register invalidate the allegation of non-accreditation and over-voting.” The tribunal stated. Concluding that “the Electoral Act 2022 is only applicable to non-compliance that is manifest.”
The tribunal, therefore, dismissed the petition, affirmed the election of Hon Afuape and awarded #500,000:00k judgement cost against the petitioners.
Afolabi Moruf Afuape Media Team